Let’s face it: as far as music content is concerned, there just isn’t an online market in India. Motorola owned digital music distributor SoundBuzz has released an estimate of music sales in India, and things don’t look good for the Internet space:

soundbuzz mobile internet music india

That’s a staggering difference in the legal downloads, and clearly, there’s only one winner.

But what this also indicates, is a clear dependancy of the music labels in India, on mobile distribution. That means they are even more dependent on companies like Hungama, Mauj, Soundbuzz, and of late, OnMobile for revenue. Around two years ago, industry executives used to talk about how leveraged Hungama Mobile is, by paying a huge minimum guarantee to T-Series, and only making up the margins. I wonder if we’ve seen a reversal of fortune now – with significant dependancy on Hungama’s distribution network, and the MG, is T-Series now dependent on Hungama?

soundbuzz physical music estimates

Download the report here. We do need more data, though – 

Mobile music consists of full track downloads, as well as derivatives like monophonic and polyphonic ringtones, truetones, Caller RingBack Tones (CRBTs), and even music videos. So what we haven’t got from soundbuzz is – an estimate of how much of this business is CRBTs, and also how full track downloads have evolved over the years.

I wonder what makes Soundbuzz estimate that online legal downloads, which during 2006 and 2007 wallowed at $0.04 million (around Rs. 22 lakhs), will suddenly jump up to $0.22 million (Rs. 1 crores). Or is it that they expect music to be retailed via the mobile Internet?

A few things to keep in mind when looking at this data:
— Soundbuzz is a music distributor, and not an independent third party source
— The revenues include operator share
— The estimationas are based on raw sales and forecasts sourced from Soundbuzz data, PwC Media & Entertainment Outlooks 2006-2010 and 2007-2011, Informa Media & Telecoms, IFPI, ARIA and local Industry associations.